By Alex Bruce/Special to The News
We all need inner resources, such as resiliency, optimism, and positivity on the best of days, and we need them even more as we face this pandemic together.
Doing everything we can to deepen our inner well of strength will support us both physically and mentally while we navigate these new waters.
The good news is that building these resources is simple, easy, and fun.
For example, think of a good memory. Any good memory that will only illicit positive emotions. Silly, funny, loving, charming, touching, moving, beautiful, whatever.
Just a good memory.
Bring your positive memory to mind. Now feel this memory. What was happening that made it so wonderful? What did you see? What did you feel? Why is it so special? Soak up this feeling of being in this memory again.
When you are done, sit for a moment and check in with you.
If you like what you are feeling, lock it in.
Memorize feeling good. Memorize what it feels like to smile without trying.
Take mini vacations.
Whether you are waiting in a lineup for essentials, on hold on the phone, pacing at home or anywhere else, you have control over your own reality.
Allow that time to be a mini vacation into yourself; feel your feet on the floor, breathe your breath, feel the sun shining on your skin even if it is through the window. Relish in the deep breathing in your belly.
Take a mini vacation inside of you and invite yourself to feel calm as you mindfully focus on one thing.
If you can, invite a smile.
The other night, my partner Keith and I had a mini vacation for dinner.
We lit some candles, turned out the lights and put on the channel that has a 24-hour fireplace.
It was silly, but it was fun and it felt great to pretend that we were out at a romantic restaurant.
Not long ago there was a small clip on the news with a couple sitting in robes on deck chairs in front of their television screen that showed nothing but ocean water. Their cruise had been cancelled, so they were pretending that they were on it anyway as they clinked glasses for a cheers.
This is a time for anyone and everyone to be creative with a mini vacation.
Share your ideas with others and invite them to participate in their own.
Youth will surprise you with their creativity – allow yourself to have fun while you enjoy your picnic meal on a blanket on the livingroom floor. This isn’t about making light of what’s happening, it’s about making the best of what’s happening.
Let light shine. Open your blinds and maybe open your window. Get some fresh air and be grateful for the deep breath.
Stand on your patio and take in spring.
The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SADs) are reduced with both natural and plentiful light. The sun is nature and nature loves the sun. We are also a part of nature, and so naturally feel good when we have sunlight.
On the days to come that will most certainly entail liquid sunshine, deeply breathe in the rainy air. Still open the blinds. You may also choose to look at, or for, photos that display sunshine.
Smile at whatever you have and whatever you come up with.
Clean your space. A tidy or clean area promotes positive mental health. It just makes you feel better to see it, and knowing that you’ve done a job well is motivation to keep it up.
Get a different perspective – literally.
Change up where you stand/sit at work (if you can) or at home, or wherever you are.
Mindfully take in what’s different about your new perspective.
Invite the new view to be a metaphor for how we can look at life with new eyes and see things that have always been there that we just haven’t notice before.
Count the things that are positive about the new outlook.
Invite everyone in your home to watch uplifting videos on Ted Talks, or join in on the growing movement in social media to post heartening pictures and clips to lift the spirits of others.
If it will make you feel good, partake in hanging up your holiday lights in and around your home.
Check out this heartwarming video from Laity View Elementary that was recently posted on the Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge News Facebook page.
Feeling good feels good.
We can allow our minds to take us for a ride, but they often go to destinations that we’ve been to before and don’t particularly enjoy.
Or, we can teach our minds to go where we want to go – remembering good memories, imagining health, and happiness for ourselves and others.
Feeling good not only feels good, it does good.
Feeling bad feels bad, and does bad.
• Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MapleRidgeNews/ and post your pictures depicting yourself or others are Enjoying a Laugh. Share your creativity during these times and be sure to include names, ages, and details for an opportunity to be highlighted in a future article.
– Alex Bruce is a health and wellness author and accredited meditation and mindfulness instructor, and this is excerpt from her: “Let’s Be Calm: The Mental Health Handbook for Surviving and Thriving Through Pandemic”
• Stay tuned tomorrow for the next COVID-19: In It Together column
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